First Information Report (FIR): India

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Acting on an FIR

Person not named in FIR can be tried if evidence crops up: SC

PTI | Jan 10, 2014

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held a person can be made an accused by the trial court in case evidence crops up during the proceedings even if he has not been named in the FIR or chargesheet.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said that the trial court has powers to summon a person as an accused despite his name being not mentioned by the investigators in the FIR and chargesheet.

The bench clarified that Section 319 of Criminal Procedure Code empowers the trial court to proceed against a person who appears to be guilty of offence but not named in the FIR or charge sheet.

The judgment could have implications in some cases arising out of the 2G scam in which the trial judge had summoned as accused some corporate honchos despite they being not named by CBI in the FIR and charge sheet.

The businessmen have approached the Supreme Court against the trial court's summoning order. The apex court is yet to pronounce its verdict in the case.

Witnesses and details

'= Witness not expected to recall every minute detail while lodging FIR, Bombay high court rules '

Swati Deshpande,TNN | Mar 26, 2014

The Times of India

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal filed by Farman Imran Shah, an accused under the stringent law meant to curb organized crime in a Pune murder case registered at Kondhwa police station. The court said it is not expected for a complainant who has just lost her husband to remember every minute detail immediately and held that more details and names can be added in the complaint, once out of trauma.

Shah had sought a discharge citing lack of evidence, belated adding of his name by the complainant and non application of mind by the authorities who granted prior sanction to prosecute him under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). He had challenged an order of the Pune special court passed last March which rejected his discharge plea.

The case against Shah was that he was involved in the fatal assault conspiracy on Anwar Shaikh in March 2012. At about 10.30pm on March 13 that year, Shaikh and his wife Parvin were in their car when two accused Matin sheikh and Nadir Sayyed, who were on a motorcycle, obstructed their way and other accused encircled their car. One man hurled a stone at a pane on the driver's side, others pulled out Shaikh and assaulted him. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. Police after investigation said it was a crime committed by an organized crime syndicate of Mohasin alias Guddu Anwar Shaikh and his associates. Shah was arraigned as accused number 12 in the case in 2012.

A bench of Justices PV Hardas and AS Gadkari while dismissing Shah's appeal on March 25 observed that, "It cannot be expected from a witness who is under the impact of a ghastly incident to give each and every minute detail when he or she is suffering from the trauma.

"It is only after the witness comes out of the trauma, that it is possible for him or her to recapitulate the details and give a detailed account to the police.

The HC said, "Non-appearance of a name of an accused while lodging an FIR does not vitiate it, neither can an inference be drawn that such an accused had not participated in the crime at all. It rejected Shah's claim that his name was added later in the complaint as an "afterthought which indicates he was not involved. The court also found nothing wrong in the prior sanction granted to prosecute him under MCOCA and said the prosecution must be given a chance to lead evidence during trial in the case.

FIR is not “gospel truth“

`Just FIR can't be reason to expel student', Oct 15 2017: The Times of India

The Bombay high court quashed an order passed by a college expelling a computer engineering student, observing that an FIR cannot be treated as “gospel truth“ and cannot be a reason for expulsion.

A division bench quashed and set aside an August 5 order passed by Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering College affiliated to Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies expelling the 21year-old student.

FIRs be made public, uploaded within 24 hours

The Times of India, Sep 08 2016

AmitAnand Choudhary 

FIRs must be made public, uploaded within 24 hours: SC

The Supreme Court ruled that an FIR (first information report) must be made public within 24 hours of its registration. It is being seen as a major step to boost transparency in criminal investigations and check harassment of the accused by police.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan directed states and Union territories to ensure that contents of an FIR are uploaded on official websites of the state police or state governments within 24 hours. It, however, said its order wouldn't be applicable in sensitive cases like offences pertaining to sexual violence, terrorism and insurgency where disclosure of infor mation could affect the case.

Setting a deadline of November 15 for compliance, the court held that an FIR is a public rather than privileged account, the contents of which should be brought into public domain. The bench noted that it was very difficult for an accused to get access to FIR and this affects his right to defend himself. Uploading the FIR would serve a larger public interest, said the bench.

“The copies of the FIR, unless reason is recorded that the offence is sensitive in nature, should be uploaded on the official websites of police or state governments within 24 hours so that the accused or any person connected with the same can download it and file application before court as per law for redressal of his grievances,“ it said.

Holding that a person who is booked under criminal law has a right to know the nature of allegations to take necessary steps to safeguard his liberty , the court said fair and impartial probe is a part of an accused's fundamental rights. It said that presumption of innocence of an accused is also his human right which cannot be violated by pursuing a secret and opaque procedure. Taking into account network problem in hilly states, the court said the states of Nagaland, Manipur, Sikkim and Jammu & Kasmir will have 48 hours within which they must upload FIRs.

The court held that decision not to upload FIR because of sensitiveness of a case must be taken by a police officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent of police (DSP).“The decision not to upload the copy of the FIR on the website shall not be taken by an officer below the rank of DSP and that too by way of a speaking order.A decision so taken by police shall also be duly communicated to the area magistrate,“ it said. Praising the decision of the court, senior advocate Ajit Sinha said the court`s decision has put the probe under public scrutiny and people could find out whether police is acting or sitting idle. “It is a very positive and effective decision to bring transparency and accountability in the organisation.“

Justice Mishra had passed a similar order in 2010 when he was the Chief Justice of the Delhi high court but the order has not been complied with in letter and spirit.

Court judgements

Not naming accused in FIR doesn’t discredit case

Usha Das, Nov 11, 2021: The Times of India

A Delhi court has framed charges of rioting and arson against four people in two separate northeast Delhi riots cases, saying FIR is not an encyclopedia but the beginning point of investigation and not naming accused in FIR does not discredit the case of the prosecution at all.

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat framed charges against Suraj, Yogender Singh, Ajay and Gorav for the offences under sections 147 and 148 (rioting), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of IPC.

They were charged for burning the shops of Javed Khan and Gulfam during the riots on February 25 last year.

“On the basis of the contents of the chargesheet duly supported by the statement of the witnesses, it has come on record that riotous mob consisting of 100-150 people armed with lathis and danda and including the accused people had entered into the shop of the complainant Javed Khan and committed mischief and destruction by fire of the said shop by the unlawful assembly in prosecution of common object,” the court said earlier.

It further said that the contention of the accused that witnesses cannot be believed or their statements as recorded late, hence cannot be relied upon, cannot be a basis for discharge as it is a matter of trial. “Moreover, the submissions that the police witnesses are not independent witnesses but interested for a ground of disregarding their statement, are without a legal basis,” it added.

The court further said there was video footage showing Suraj and Yogender near the place of the incident. It noted that beat officers, who were deputed on duty on February 25, 2020, had also identified them as part of the rioters. It said that witnesses have also described the incident involving more than 100-200 rioters armed with rods and danda, and hence, there was a common object that can be ascribed to the accused people in committing the said offence of rioting and mischief. It added that “a public witness has specifically identified accused Ajay and Gorav as part of the riotous mob, which ransacked and burnt the shops of the complainants.”

“Thus, on the basis of the material on record, I am of the opinion that there are grounds for presuming that the accused people namely Suraj, Yogender Singh, Ajay and Gorav have committed offences under sections 147,148, 427,436,188 IPC read with Section 149 IPC,” the judge said.

The accused had claimed they were falsely implicated in the matter.

Delayed FIRs

Police delay FIRs in 69% of disputes

Police delay FIRs in 69% of disputes, reveals survey, November 25, 2017: The Times of India

Police personnel are not keen on registering FIRs in disputes, according to a survey by a Bengaluru-based NGO.

NGO Daksh’s Access to Justice Survey 2017 conducted among 45,551 households in the country and released here on Friday found that police did not register an FIR immediately in 69% of disputes.

Asked about the reasons cited by police for not registering an FIR, respondents in 37% of the cases said the police wanted them to compromise with the other party. The other reasons include: police did not believe me (21%), police did not give a reason (19%), police said it is better for me not to file a case (14%) and police did not think the dispute was serious (8%).

The survey also found that the maximum number of legal disputes in the country are related to recovery of money (30.2%), followed by land/property (29.3%), family (13.5%), insurance (9.1%) and motor vehicle accidents/ compensation (9.1%). Of the total land disputes, 71% are about agricultural land and 22% non-agricultural land.

Asked for reasons for not going to court, 44.5% said the other party opted for a non-judicial method. As many as 26.8% who did not approach courts said the cost of litigation is too high.

Another 21.5% said that they did not know how to file a case since the legal system is too complex, while 17.3% of the respondents said cases takes too long to be resolved in court.

37% of respondents surveyed said the police wanted them to compromise with the other party instead.

Jurisdiction issues

Place of crime cannot come in the way of filing an FIR

Dec 6, 2019 Times of India

For the father of the veterinary doctor in Hyderabad who was raped and killed last week in a crime that shocked the nation with its brutality, the night she went missing keeps replaying in his head. “Had we found her a few hours earlier, she would be alive... if only we hadn’t wasted time going from one police station to another to get our case registered,” he says.

On the fateful night of November 27, the family had first approached the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) police station. But officers there refused to accept the complaint, saying the spot from where the veterinary doctor had gone missing didn’t fall in their jurisdiction. The cops in fact suggested the young woman must have eloped. It was 11 pm. Now frantic with worry, they went to Shamshabad rural police station, 1.5 km away, where, again, the officers tried to turn them away, telling them to go back to RGIA PS. But this time the family persisted. By the time cops at Shamshabad agreed to register a missing complaint it was 3 am. Crucial hours had been lost and the woman’s charred body was found the next morning in an underpass.

Three policemen were eventually suspended for delaying the FIR. A rattled police brass soon issued instructions that all cases irrespective of territorial jurisdiction should be registered and probe started. “The FIR can be transferred to the relevant police station later,” Jitender, additional DG (law & order), Telangana, told TOI. Union women and child development minister Smriti Irani said in Parliament that she was concerned about this culture.

Telangana may be making amends, but police stations squabbling over territorial jurisdiction is a routine affair across India. From rape survivors to accident victims, people are often shunted from one police station to another, with officers taking hours, sometimes days, to register cases.

A 22-year-old woman who was allegedly raped in Mohali earlier this year was forced to go from one police station to another as SHOs argued over jurisdiction. The FIR was finally registered after two days. In another case, a woman who said she was raped at a guest house in Morni, Haryana, by 40 men in July 2018 was told she should go to Chandigarh to file her complaint.

Such is the police reluctance to register FIRs that it has led to bizarre situations. In 2013, Mohali police argued with Chandigarh police over an injured accident victim. As he lay bleeding, negotiations dragged on. Finally, it was adjudged that since his head was towards Mohali, the case should go to them. In Kanpur in August, 25-year-old Karan Chandra lay shot and in urgent need of help as officers of three police stations fought to not take the case. As cops debated, he was brought dead to the hospital.

SHOs in Bihar frequently register FIRs only after prodding by SSPs or DSPs. But ADG (headquarters) Jitendra Kumar said “strict action is now initiated against errant cops to curb such instances”.

The jurisdiction or territorial boundary of a police station is determined at the time of its formation. “Police stations are formed based on factors like growth in population and crime rate in a particular area. Proposals for a new police station are usually sent by unit officers like SPs or commissioners to the DGP. After a review, the DGP’s office forwards it to the government,” explained Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar.

DGP (Jharkhand) Kamal Nayan Choubey said the jurisdiction of police stations is clearly notified and there is no scope for confusion. “Sometimes there is reluctance among officers to register crimes when there is manpower crunch. We have been sensitising cops to understand that the common man is not expected to know what area falls under which police station limits. So, they must register Zero FIRs.”

The reluctance continues despite provision for ‘Zero FIR’, which allows for a complaint — which can later be transferred — to be registered in any police station for a cognisable offence. In Delhi, officers credit Zero FIRs for declining cases of jurisdiction fights.

Languages used, state-wise

Persian, Urdu words discontinued in Haryana

Haryana cops to drop Persian, Urdu words from FIRs

Anita Singh TNN 2013/06/27

The Times of India

Karnal: In an effort to simplify Daily Diary Reports and First Information Reports, Haryana police have decided to do away with archaic and difficult words and phrases from Persian and Urdu languages.

These have been in use in Haryana since the pre-Independence period. Words like muddayi (complainant), muddala (accused), tameel (execution), aala-e-qatal (murder weapon), taftish (investigation), to name a few, baffle complainants when they are handed a copy of the FIR.

The head of the state crime records bureau, said the department has initiated the move to incorporate simple Hindi words in the complaints.

HC: Can use simple Urdu words in FIRs

Dec 12, 2019 Times of India

Delhi high court asked police to upload on its website a list of around 380 Urdu and Persian words and their meanings, whose use has been prohibited.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar also clarified that Urdu and Persian words of general use can be used by police and only the archaic ones need to be weeded out. “Archaic Urdu and Persian words ought not to be utilised (while lodging FIRs) and that is what we intended to convey by our August 7 order in a separate pending PIL before us,” the court said.

The court’s observation came while hearing two petitions. In a plea filed by one Naima Pasha, the petitioner argued that using the court’s order, a police circular of November 20 tries to do away with even general Urdu and Persian words as some of these also figured in the list of 383 terms.

In the other petition by advocate Vishalakshi Goel, the high court had on November 25 called for 100 FIR copies to ascertain whether the circular of November 20 was being adhered to. On Wednesday, police submitted the FIR copies before the bench that pointed out that words prohibited in the circular are still being used.

Multiple FIRs/ clubbing of cases

Apurva Vishwanath, July 2, 2022: The Indian Express

On what grounds are such cases clubbed?

A person cannot be prosecuted more than once for the same offence. Article 20(2) of the Constitution guarantees the right against double jeopardy. Multiple FIRs on the same incident would virtually mean multiple trials. Approaching the Supreme Court in such situations is a procedural safeguard against excessive litigation.

In T T Anthony v State of Kerala, a 2001 verdict, the Supreme Court held that there cannot be a “second FIR” on the same issue.

“There can be no second F.I.R. and consequently there can be no fresh investigation on receipt of every subsequent information in respect of the same cognizable offence or the same occurrence or incident giving rise to one or more cognizable offences. On receipt of information about a cognizable offence or an incident giving rise to a cognizable offence or offences and on entering the F.I.R. in the station house diary, the officer in charge of a Police Station has to investigate not merely the cognizable offence reported in the FIR but also other connected offences found to have been committed in the course of the same transaction or the same occurrence and file one or more reports as provided in Section 173 of the CrPC,” the court had said.

In 2020, the Supreme Court in the case of Arnab Goswami v Union of India expanded this ruling and said that similar FIRs in different jurisdictions also violates fundamental rights.

“Subjecting an individual to numerous proceedings arising in different jurisdictions on the basis of the same cause of action is a violation of fundamental rights,” a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said.

The court said that in such a situation, the petitioner can approach the Supreme Court to club the proceedings. “A litany of our decisions – to refer to them individually would be a parade of the familiar – has firmly established that any reasonable restriction on fundamental rights must comport with the proportionality standard, of which one component is that the measure adopted must be the least restrictive measure to effectively achieve the legitimate state aim. Subjecting an individual to numerous proceedings arising in different jurisdictions on the basis of the same cause of action cannot be accepted as the least restrictive and effective method of achieving the legitimate state aim in prosecuting crime,” the court said.

Why did the Supreme Court deny Sharma’s plea?

The SC vacation Bench distinguished Sharma’s case from the precedent in the Arnab Goswami case. It indicated that the court had granted relief to Goswami since he was a journalist and the same status cannot be extended to Sharma who was a party spokesperson.

Although the SC in Goswami’s case emphasised press freedom, it noted that the Constitution guarantees the same free speech rights to all citizens.

“But to allow a journalist to be subjected to multiple complaints and to the pursuit of remedies traversing multiple states and jurisdictions when faced with successive FIRs and complaints bearing the same foundation has a stifling effect on the exercise of that freedom. This will effectively destroy the freedom of the citizen to know of the affairs of governance in the nation and the right of the journalist to ensure an informed society. Our decisions hold that the right of a journalist under Article 19(1)(a) is no higher than the right of the citizen to speak and express. But we must as a society never forget that one cannot exist without the other,” the Court had said.

The Goswami and Anthony rulings are both valid precedents that were binding on the vacation Bench. However, in an oral observation, the vacation Bench said that “if the conscience of the Court is not satisfied, the law can be moulded”.

Zero FIR

What is Zero FIR?


By Suhas Gokhale

May 26, 2016

What is zero FIR?

As per the Sec 154 of Criminal procedure Code, every Police officer is law bound to register the First Information Report of any cognizable offence committed, irrespective of the jurisdiction in which the offence was committed. When a cognizable offence is reported, the police officer registering the case forthwith starts the investigation, if it is committed in his jurisdiction. if it is not committed in his jurisdiction, he registers the FIR under number 00 and sends it to the police station, where the offence was committed for further investigation. Such FIR is called as zero FIR. It is for the convenience of the victim that instead of making the victim run from pillar to post, the police officer, where the victim approaches as per his convenience, the case is recorded and police officer sends it to the concerned police station.

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